Budding nature-lovers will be taken on a voyage of discovery to find out how animals have evolved to deal with friends and foe, at a special interactive event.

Scientists from the University of Exeter will share their knowledge of the circumstances that determine whether animals are lovers or fighters, when they host the popular Science in the Square on Friday, August 11.

The family fun day, part of Falmouth Week, gives people of all ages the chance to get hands-on with science alongside researchers based at the nearby Penryn Campus.

The free event will see a series of short, fun talks along with a host of hands-on activities and demonstrations, which will allow visitors to become scientists for the day while exploring the natural world.

Stuart Bearhop, professor of animal ecology, said: “We know that children have an instinctive curiosity towards nature, and constantly explore the world around them. Events such as Science in the Square allow us to nurture this innate enthusiasm for both science and nature, and develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the role they play in their everyday lives.”

Dr Kelly Moyes will be asking why animals have friends in her talk. She said: “I’m really excited to be talking about some of the work that scientists at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus do to understand why animals live in groups.

“We know that as humans we really benefit from having friends and what we see is that it’s exactly the same in animals. Come along to Science in the Square to hear about how animals, large and small, benefit from having friends.”

Professor Dave Hosken will discuss why animals have weapons in his talk. He said: “Science in the Square is one way we say thank you to our local community, showcasing the amazing and fun science conducted by the University of Exeter right here in Cornwall. It is a great way for children (and adults) of all ages to experience science and the wonders of the natural world first hand.”

Science in the Square will feature a host of short talks: at 12.30pm, why do animals have friends; at 1.30pm, why do animals have weapons; at 2.30pm, why burn fossil fuels; and at 3.30pm, why do sea turtles cross oceans.

There will also be the following interactive zones: Bone zone, full of skulls and skeletons; Marine zone with weird and wonderful rocky-shore inhabitants; Live zone, to get up close and personal with wild animals; Mini beast zone, with microscopes and the chance to explore the garden pond; Earth zone, exploring alternatives to fossil fuels, learning about the world's resources and seeing technologies in action; Craft zone, to get creative; and Adventure zone, immersing visitors in the adventures scientists go on from the African plains to the Bornean jungle.

Science in the Square will be in Events Square from 12-4pm on Friday, August 11.